B-UHS swim teams shine in record-breaking performance at Big 10 Conference Championship

#1: Preston Bennett competing in the backstroke event. Bennett broke his own conference championship met record in the 500-yard freestyle Wednesday evening with a time of 4:56.50. PHOTO SUBMITTED

BRIDGEPORT — Back on Wednesday, January 29 the Buckhannon-Upshur swimming teams traveled north to Bridgeport for one of the most anticipated dates on the swimming calendar, the 2021-22 Big 10 Conference Championship meet. The two B-UHS swim teams under the guidance of head coach Michael Roessing, combined to bring home a total of 8 conference championships. 

A pair of Buccaneers broke meet records as, the girls 200-yard medley relay team, consisting of junior star Cadence Vincent, senior standout Cameron Zuliani, junior Alayna Whitehair and freshman Riley Vincent, set a new Big 10 Conference Championship meet record in the race with a time of 1:56.01. Then senior Preston Bennett went on to beat his own conference meet record in the 500-yard freestyle, finishing the race in 4:56.50, almost 40 seconds ahead of the second-place time of 5:35.38. Vincent ended the meet as the Big 10’s top-ranked swimmer, of either gender, while teammate Preston Bennett finished as the conference’s fourth-ranked swimmer and third-ranked male competitor.

Bennett continued his string of historic performances, by also capturing the conference championship in the boy’s 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:49.76, beating out his closest competition by nearly 10 seconds, while Cadence Vincent won the conference championship in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke with strong outings. Cameron Zuliani won the conference championship in the 100-yard freestyle. She also finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke. 

Other notable individual performers at the Big 10 Conference championship meet included, junior teammate Alayna Whitehair, junior Reis Leonard, and freshman Carter Zuliani. Whitehair scored three second-place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard breaststroke, and the 200-yard IM. Carter Zuliani finished second in the boy’s 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.89, while Leonard finished third in the boy’s 100-yard breaststroke.

In team events, the girl’s 200-yard freestyle relay team consisting of Zuliani, Vincent, Whitehair, and sophomore Lillian Fetty took home the conference championship with a time of 1:44.24. The boy’s 200-yard freestyle relay team also took home the conference championship, combining to post a time of 1:37.48, touching the wall just ahead of the team representing Robert C. Bryd’s time of 1:37.61 to win in thrilling fashion.

In the end, both the B-UHS swim teams finished third overall. The boy’s team, Buckhannon claimed 3 gold medal finishes, 1 silver medal finish, and 2 bronze medal finishes, while the girl’s swim team claimed a meet-high 5 gold medal finishes, 2 silver medal finishes, and 1 bronze medal finish. Combined, the two third-place team finishes pushed the B-UHS swim teams to a finish as runner-up for the combined team Big 10 Conference championship. Swimmers representing Elkins won the boy’s overall team conference championship, while swimmers representing Bridgeport won the girl’s overall team conference championship. Congratulations to all the participants and winners from both of the B-UHS swim teams for their big performance during the Big 10 Conference championship meet! Thank you for doing a wonderful job representing Upshur County, now on to states!

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